Knowledge and Insights
Yesterday New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli, and Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced that $155 million in relief funds will be provided to long-term care facilities. The funding will assist the facilities with the implementation of a new DOH directive focused on safely reopening long-term care facilities for indoor visitation by appointment and other activities if the facilities have no COVID-19 cases among residents or staff.
Before reopening, facilities must meet certain public health benchmarks including adequate infection control, staff and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure preparedness to implement certain requirements, preparations in the event of a surge of COVID and to attest about their preparations to the Department of Health. When facilities conclude their outbreaks and implement the requirements of the DOH’s directive, they will advance through phases, and in each phase, will be able to restore services for residents and ultimately allow for indoor visitation and resumption of normal activities.
In order to assist facilities with the cost of testing benchmarks, DOH also announced another $25 million in funding, which will assist these facilities with the cost of weekly testing for all staff. These facilities will have priority access to the Rutgers University saliva test.
Each facility must comply with the following benchmarks as laid out in the DOH directive:
- Must not have an active outbreak. An outbreak is considered concluded when a facility has 28 days – two incubation periods with no new staff or residents that tested positive – and, if a CMS-certified facility, a DOH survey inspection.
- They must be fully staffed and have a plan for additional staffing in case of an outbreak or emergency.
- Staff testing must continue to be conducted weekly.
- It is essential that they have enough PPE for present use in addition to an extra supply for emergencies.
- They must have an updated outbreak plan with lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan must also include a communications strategy that outlines regular communication with residents and families about cases and outbreaks or any other emergency. The plan must also include methods for virtual communication in the event of visitation restrictions. The plan must be posted on their website.
- Facilities must contract with an infection control service within two months or hire a full-time employee in the infection control role if they have more than 100 beds or hemodialysis.
- Facilities with ventilator beds are required to hire an infection control employee per current statute.
- Every facility will be required to put in place within nine months a respiratory protection program that complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards including medical screenings and fit testing of employees using respirators (N95 Masks).
There are four phases of DOH’s reopening plan as outlined in the directive, all tied to the state’s planned stages of reopening. All facilities start in Phase 0 as of today.
Mercadien’s COVID-19 Task Force will work with you to assist you with any questions you may have relating to this funding. Additionally, we are also available to assist you with other relief options during these difficult times. Complete the COVID-19 Assistance Request form on our website or contact Matt Smierciak, CPA at 609-689-2333 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
DISCLAIMER: This advisory resource is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute business or tax advice and may not be used and relied upon as a substitute for business or tax advice regarding a specific issue or problem. Advice should be obtained from a qualified accountant, tax practitioner or attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where that advice is sought.